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How to get from San Jose, Costa Rica to Managua, Nicaragua

San Jose, Costa Rica, is well connected to Managua, Nicaragua. You can get from San Jose to Managua by bus or flight!

Managua, the capital city of Nicaragua, is a must-see destination for all nature and history lovers!

It sits on the shores of Lake Managua and is one of the largest cities in Central America. 

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All types of vacationers flock here for a summer holiday, but what draws everyone to Managua the most is the famous carnival dedicated to Santo Domingo de Guzmán!

The primary reason that thousands of people participate in this event, which includes dancing, food, drinking, and marching, is to honor pre-colonial traditions. Many people even wear costumes and masks during the parade and paint their bodies.

Puerto Salvador Allende, Plaza de la Revolucion, Antigua Catedral de Managua,  the national theatre, and of course, the park and lake of Managua are some of the must-see places when you’re visiting this place!

And if you wish to fully immerse yourself in this city and dive deep into its history, we recommend booking this 4-Hour Guided Historical Walking Tour to discover everything the Nicaraguan capital has to offer!

Traveling between San Jose and Managua is easy, and you can choose between a bus and a flight!

Check our guide for the best options to travel from San Jose, Costa Rica, to Managua, Nicaragua.

How far is San Jose from Managua?

The distance from San Jose, Costa Rica, to Managua, Nicaragua, is 261 miles or 420 kilometers.

Transportation Options from San Jose to Managua

The following table outlines all transportation options from San Jose to Managua:

MethodTravel timePrice
Bus from San Jose to Managua8 hours 50 minutesUSD 26-USD 28
Flight from San Jose to Managua1 hour 15 minutes

Getting to Managua, Nicaragua from San Jose, Costa Rica

1. Bus from San Jose to Managua

Journey Duration: 8 hours 50 minutes

The most cost-effective and practical way to get from San Jose to Managua is by bus! 

This route is operated by Nica Expreso and Transporte del Sol, which both offer excellent service and international routes!

Their buses are well equipped and air-conditioned, with tons of amenities on board so you can have an enjoyable and smooth journey.

Each company has one daily departure, and you can choose to travel during the day or on an overnight trip. It takes about 8-9 hours to get from San Jose to Managua, depending on how long the wait is at the border.

You can also choose between a ticket for a Tourist or Business Bus, which come at a different prices.

But no matter what option you choose, the price for a bus ticket from San Jose to Managua is very affordable, costing only USD 26-USD 28!

Book your bus tickets from San Jose to Managua online in advance to secure your trip!

San Jose to Managua Bus Schedule:

Departure TimeArrival TimeDurationPrice per Person
01:00 AM09:50 AM8 hours 50 minutesUSD 28Book Now 3 E1661788865313
06:00 AM01:45 PM7 hours 45 minutesUSD 26Book Now 3 E1661788865313
View At The Old Santiago Cathedral Of Managua In Nicaragua

2. Flight from San Jose to Managua

Journey Duration: 1 hour 15 minutes

The fastest and also most expensive way to get to Managua is by airplane. There are direct and connecting flight options available, so consider the direct ones only because it takes much longer to arrive in Managua. 

Planes depart from the Juan Santamaría International Airport airport in San Jose and arrive at Augusto Cesar Sandino International Airport in Managua.

If you book on time, you can get a return ticket for a reasonable price. However, if you book last minute, the price can go up to USD 1000.

The aircraft is comfortable, the travel time is short, and the Managua airport is not far from the center. In addition, you can use the bus or taxi to leave the airport zone when you land.

There are flights almost daily; just ensure you catch them at a reasonable price!

Find the cheapest flights on Skyscanner

Best day tours in Managua, Nicaragua

Get Your Guide helps you find the best tours wherever you are heading to. It’s usually the first website I check when I plan a trip to a new place.

The following widget shows some of the best tours in Managua, Nicaragua.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the cheapest way to get from San Jose, Costa Rica, to Managua, Nicaragua?

The cheapest way to get from San Jose, Costa Rica, to Managua, Nicaragua, is by bus, which costs only USD 26.

What is the fastest way to get from San Jose, Costa Rica, to Managua, Nicaragua?

The fastest way to get from San Jose, Costa Rica, to Managua, Nicaragua, is by plane. The fastest direct flight takes only 1 hour and 15 minutes.

Can you take a rental car from Costa Rica to Nicaragua?

Costa Rican rental cars are not permitted to cross land borders, so you can only drive your vehicle as far as the border.

What is the best time to visit Nicaragua?

The dry season, from November through May, is the best time to visit Nicaragua. 

Can visitors use US dollars in Nicaragua? 

The Nicaraguan currency is the Córdoba (C), but most establishments accept payment in US dollars. 

Which airlines fly direct from SJO to Managua Airport?

Sansa Airlines provides direct flights from San Jose to Managua.

What is the most popular mode of transportation from San Jose to Managua?

The Tourist bus by Nica Expreso is the most popular transportation choice for travelers going from San Jose to Managua.

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